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October 17, 2008


by Don Rose

Rob Reiner, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest will be glad to know that their cult-phenomenon mockumentary "Spinal Tap" (which celebrates its 25th anniversary next year) is alive and well with today's younger generation. In a benefit held October 16, 2008 to raise funds for HRA (the Hollywood Rock Academy), kids as well as adults came out to enjoy the film, as well as make it more of a "Rocky Horror" type interactive experience with some spot-on costumes (photo left), plot-timed shout-outs and smoke eruptions, as well as other audience actions during the screening. Everything about the event had some relation to "Tap" - even the price of VIP tickets, which "went to eleven" with its $111.11 price.

The evening began with a reception in the lobby of the historic Crest Theatre in Westwood, featuring tasty sandwiches and salad, plus Red Bull Cola and a favorite of The LA Report, Sweet Leaf Tea. Then came the interactive screening and performance, which featured a Spinal Tap cover band called "Tapped Out" composed of HRA members who played down front just below the screen (yes, a cover band of a faux band - welcome to the Age of Post-Postmodernism).

The screening of "Tap" was the emotional highlight of the event, of course. Yes, it still holds up on the big screen, and the addition of the RockyHorror-esque element to the experience was mostly a lot of fun (wisely, the live elements were not overdone). We especially liked the two faux Stonehenges brought to the event (photo below), which were carted out during the infamous scene where the incorrectly-proportioned stage prop gets lowered during a Tap show in the film, to unintended humorous effect. I can definitely see this becoming a regular thing at arthouse theatres, either at the Crest or at West LA's Nuart Theatre, where Saturday midnight showings of "Rocky Horror" are a weekly staple that always leads to a line to get in.

The afterparty for the HRA benefit was held at the W Hotel in Westwood, where VIPs got to mingle with HRA folks while enjoying passed appetizers such as crabcakes and empenadas as well as "Tapped Out" tickets for drinks. The giftbag included a Special Edition of the "Spinal Tap" DVD, featuring over an hour of special features, sure to please all the "Tap" fans in attendance at the HRA affair.

The event was presented by Amoeba Music in association with Galpin Motors and 9 Star. Additional sponsors included W Hotel Westwood.

About The Hollywood Rock Academy

The Hollywood Rock Academy (HRA) was founded in 2005 on the belief that when it comes to achieving greatness, kids are not only capable—but immensely superhuman in their fresh creative strengths, determination and imagination. What makes the HRA different from other ‘rock schools’ is that HRA students participate in a ‘real band’ environment—writing, recording and performing their own original music. Children in the HRA program are able to forge their own creative identity while learning to work as a team, cooperating and negotiating through the creative process as a working unit. How students learn to express their own musical and artistic voice is more important than how well they play classic rock "covers." HRA bands stay together for an entire school year, and, in a number of cases, over many years.

About The Hollywood Rock Academy Foundation

The Hollywood Rock Academy Foundation (HRAF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to provide music education to underprivileged children in the Los Angeles area who otherwise would not have access to it. HRAF provides a mobile version of the HRA band program that goes to schools and children’s hospitals; bringing instruction by qualified teachers and musicians, as well as musical instruments which are given to each child at no cost to their family.

About "Spinal Tap"

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984): DIR Rob Reiner FEATURING Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner. The comedic brainchild of director Rob Reiner and writers Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, THIS IS SPINAL TAP is a brilliant and hilarious documentary-style satire of a has-been British heavy metal band who never really was on an absurd American comeback tour that never quite gets off the ground. A striking and acutely hysterical directorial debut for Reiner, THIS IS SPINAL TAP practically birthed the mockumentary style, and is a deserved cult classic.

HRA information can be found at www.hollywoodrockacademy.com; more information and updates regarding future events can be found at http://www.myspace.com/hraspinaltap.